The present paper discusses the second part of a four part series that will investigate the hypothesis that people may have biased cognitive and affective representations of the body's parts (body schema) and that this may have implications for illness behaviour, disclosure, and help seeking. To test this hypothesis, we administered a paper and pencil questionnaire to randomly selected individuals that comprised the baseline group. The results of this baseline test group from Pescara, Italy provided us with a series of statistics that mostly confirmed our hypothesis; namely that body perception of the various body parts can be parsimoniously organized on the basis of just four of the five factors suggested by the previous literature including Stigma, Vulnerability, Importance, Sexuality and Privacy, and that each body part is rated differently according to those factors. We found that the strongest resistance in help seeking occurred for the following body parts: the Anus and Genitals, which also received the highest scores on the stigma factors scale. These results were independent of age and medical history, only gender showed a moderate affect.
Corresponding Author: HUGHES S.|